Heritage Foundation policy experts regularly appear before Congress to testify on timely issues, but they were particularly busy the week of May 16. In the span of a few days, four Heritage experts appeared at congressional hearings, testifying on everything from limiting the president’s emergency powers to solving the so-called teacher shortage.
GianCarlo Canaparo: Congress Should Impose Substantive Limitations on the President’s Emergency Powers
GianCarlo Canaparo, a senior legal fellow in Heritage’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, testified in front of the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties on potential reforms of the president’s emergency powers.
In his opening remarks, Canaparo said:
“Congress should impose substantive limitations on the president’s emergency powers. To put it simply, to paraphrase my mother, ‘You brought these powers into the world, and you can take them out again.’ But how do you establish a framework to do that? The Constitution provides the guide. It anticipates that Congress will take the lead in addressing emergencies, so generally, Congress should do so.
“Now, that’s not to say that Congress should give the president no emergency powers, but that Congress should give him such powers only when it is convinced that it is incapable of reacting with necessary speed.”
You can watch his full opening statement below.
Katie Tubb: Congress and Biden Administration Must Address Policies Driving Up Energy Prices
Heritage Research Fellow Katie Tubb testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, addressing the left’s push to address climate change with energy-efficient and resilient housing.
In her opening statement, she said:
“Unfortunately, too many of these programs do not look back at real world use and consumer experiences. While this can be humorous at times, such as the Department of Energy’s assumption that Americans use their washing machines 392 times per year—which is more than once per day—to justify their costly efficiency standards, it can also lead to phenomenal waste of resources.
“Congress, and particularly the administration, must devote more attention to policies that are unnecessarily driving up prices, injecting risk, and inhibiting American’s ability to be resilient in whatever the future holds.”
You can watch her full opening statement below.
Lindsey Burke: Tackling Teacher Shortages and How COVID-19 Showed Us the Critical Need for School Choice
Lindsey Burke, director of The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Education Policy, testified before the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on teacher shortages.
Burke urged the committee members to consider that while teacher vacancies have increased, teacher positions comprise only half of education jobs, with school district administrative staffing surging 88 percent from 2000 to 2019. “Public schools chose to fund a non-teaching staffing surge rather than direct ever-increasing taxpayer-funded spending to higher teacher salaries,” she said in her opening statement.
On lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, Burke said:
“The No. 1 lesson that we should take away from COVID is that we should fund students and not systems. That was a big part of the reason parents did not have educational continuity for their children, because dollars go to school districts and not students themselves. And when schools shut down, (families) had very few if any choices to make sure their children did have access to in-person instruction. That’s a really important lesson moving forward is that every single dollar that we spend should go directly to families to allow them to select into learning environments that work for them, reflect their values, and are open to instruction (and are) safe and effective long term.”
Speaking a day after the tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Texas that claimed the lives of 19 students and two teachers, Burke also honored the two teachers who gave their lives to protect their students. “We know that’s who our teachers are. In America, that’s why we treasure and value our teachers—because that’s who they are,” she said.
Cully Stimson: Why Creating a Domestic Terrorism Crime Wouldn’t Help Law Enforcement
Senior Legal Fellow Cully Stimson, deputy director of the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and manager of the National Security Law Program, testified in front of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board on the First and Fourth Amendment implications of the government's efforts to counter domestic terrorism and how there is no need for additional laws to fight it. He noted:
“The bottom line is this: Between the state law crimes of murder, arson, robbery, and theft, and the federal laws like the RICO statute, there are more laws on the books today than we need to address whatever domestic terrorism problem arises. There is no need to create a new domestic terrorism crime because it adds nothing to the tools that law enforcement already has. Passing such a law serves only to satisfy the political desire to ‘do something’ or to satisfy whatever group wants to have a new law directed at one or more parties those groups dislike.
“I also worry that the hyperfocus on domestic terrorism, however defined, could allow us to take our eye off the ball of international terrorism and global, national security threats.”
You can find his opening remarks in full below.